Prospecting the Blogosphere

about the UCI blog survey.

all opinions express herein are only makko's and ocean's, and do not necessarily reflect opinions of any of the other UCI blog survey team members

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Blog Survey Findings

The blog survey has resulted in two published papers for 2005, one in the Communities and Technologies (C&T) conference and another in the Social Intelligence Design (SID). You can download the full papers (pdf) below. Briefly, both papers compare blogging communities on four dimensions: activism, reputation, social connectedness and identity. The C&T paper compares blogging communities from different cultures, while the SID paper compares across genres (political versus personal). So for example, a question we addressed in the C&T paper was whether bloggers in Japan, for example hide their identity on blogs more readily than bloggers in other countries (yes). A question we addressed in the SID paper was whether political bloggers are more social connected than personal bloggers (yes). If you just want a quick summary, read the introduction and conclusion (most researchers do the same anyways).

The survey development process would not have been possible without some very smart people: Jon Froehlich, Brandon Herdrick, Xuefei Fan, Kelly H. Kim and Louise Barkhuus. They were all part of a quantitative statistics class taught by Gloria, and it was truly an enjoyable experience to work with them. Finally, I want to especially thank all the bloggers who took time out to answer unsolicited emails from annoying graduate students. Many of your provided us insightful advice and constructive criticism.

If you have any questions, please first refer to the full papers. If you still have comments or inquiries, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, or email us directly: normsu or yangwang [at] ics [dot] uci [dot] edu. We'll address your issues here or by email.

A Bosom Buddy Afar Brings a Distant Land Near: Are Bloggers a Global Community?
Norman Makoto Su, Yang Wang, Gloria Mark, Tosin Aiyelokun, Tadashi Nakano

Abstract. Information communication technologies on the Internet such as Usenet, Internet relay chats and multi-user dungeons have been used to enable virtual communities. However, a new form of technology, the weblog, or “blog”, has quickly risen as a means for self-expression and sharing knowledge for people across geographic distance. Though studies have focused on blogs in Western countries, our study targets the global blogging community. Inspired by previous studies that show significant differences in technology practices across cultures, we conducted a survey to investigate the influence of regional culture on a blogging community. We asked the research question of whether bloggers are more influenced by their local cultures with respect to their sense of community, or rather whether a “universal” Internet culture is a stronger influence of community feeling. Our results, based on a multilingual worldwide blogging survey of 1232 participants from four continents show that while smaller differences could be found between Eastern and Western cultures, overall the global blogging community is indeed dominated by an Internet culture that shows no profound differences across cultures. However, one significant exception was found in Japanese bloggers and their concealment of identity.

Politics as Usual in the Blogosphere
Norman Makoto Su, Yang Wang, Gloria Mark

Abstract. In recent years, the emergence of weblogs, commonly known as blogs, are changing the way that people interact over the Internet. Two particular kinds of blogs have become particularly popular—political and personal /hobby oriented blogs. Each of these types of blogs foster a community of readers and writers. In this paper, we investigate how the notion of community is expressed through these two blog genres. We examine the differences between community aspects in political and personal blogs. We focus on four dimensions that are associated with community: activism, reputation, social connectedness and identity. Our results, based on a multilingual worldwide blogging survey of 121 political and 593 personal /hobby bloggers from four continents show significant differences in blogging practices across these genres.

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